South Africa: Wounded Miner Commits Suicide - Inquiry Hears

Rustenburg — A miner who was wounded during the Marikana shooting has committed suicide, the Farlam Commission heard on Wednesday.

Advocate Dali Mpofu, who represents the miners who were wounded and arrested the day of the shooting, told the commission one of them had killed himself since the last hearing, in the first week of December.

The man's family believed the trauma of events surrounding the shooting on August 16 -- in which 34 of his colleagues were killed -- was behind the suicide, Mpofu said.

Retired judge Ian Farlam, who chairs the commission, extended condolences to the man's friends and family.

On Wednesday, Mpofu continued his cross-examination of Association of Mineworkers and Construction Union (Amcu) president Joseph Mathunjwa.

Mpofu said Lonmin had asked the police to help it deal with labour unrest at the mine.

Mathunjwa said that on August 15, a meeting was held between the police, Lonmin management and the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM).

"NUM asked for caucus. We were left behind," he said.

Mthunjwa said he was later told the others had gone to the police and mine security's joint operations centre, and that he should join them.

"Surely there was some collaboration -- for want of a better word --because there was no other union present that I observed," he said.

Many Amcu members, dressed in green T-shirts, attended the hearing on Wednesday.

The three-member commission is holding public hearings at the Rustenburg Civic Centre. The other commissioners are senior advocates Bantubonke Tokota and Pingla Hemraj.

Thirty-four striking miners were shot dead and 78 were wounded when the police opened fire on them while trying to disperse a group which had gathered on a hill near the mine on August 16.

In the preceding week, 10 people, including two police officers and two security guards, were hacked to death near the mine.

President Jacob Zuma announced in the commission in August. Zuma said it must complete its work within four months, and would have to submit its final report a month later.

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